News / USA

US Congress Waging Fierce Final Battle over Health Care Reform

President Barack Obama speaking in Ohio
President Barack Obama speaking in Ohio

Multimedia

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party allies in Congress are making one last push for health care reform after more than a year of debate.  Republicans and grass roots conservative activists are making their own last ditch attempt to block the health care bill, and the passionate battle over reform has spread from the halls of Congress into the streets surrounding the Capitol.  

They have come to Washington from across the country in a combative mood with one mission in mind - to stop President Obama's health care bill.

Opposition Republicans bent on killing the bill like Indiana Congressman Mike Pence whip the  crowd into a frenzy.

"Let's go from here," he said "Let's scrap the bill.  Let's build health care reform that respects the limited government and liberty of the American people, so help us God!"  

Grassroots conservatives, many of them members of the so-called Tea Party movement, are out in force at the rally, eager to spread their anti-Obama, anti-tax, anti-big government message.

For many of these activists, stopping health care reform is the first step toward defeating Democrats in Congress in November and President Obama in 2012.

They are rallying around Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann and other rising conservative stars.

"And we are going to win in November and President Obama will be a one-term president!," said Michele Bachmann.

After more than a year of debate, the president is equally determined to make one last push for health care, including a recent stop in Ohio.

"And so I am calling on Congress to pass these reforms and I am going to sign them into law," said President Obama. "I want some courage.  I want us to do the right thing, Ohio, and with your help we are going to make it happen!"  
Democrats need every vote to pass Mr. Obama's top domestic priority,  and the president did win over one liberal holdout.

"I've decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation," said Dennis Kucinich.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Congressman Dennis Kucinich



Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich had opposed the bill because he said it did not go far enough.  Now he says Mr. Obama's presidency may hang in the balance.

"How can we empower our president and the Congress and the government to start to move the country forward, notwithstanding the differences we have," he said.

But even on the political left, not everyone is happy.

Health care activists who favor a more comprehensive approach to reform staged their own protest outside the Capitol, complete with signs and even a special song for the occasion.

Donna Smith is a cancer survivor and health care activist.  She had hoped President Obama would fight harder for comprehensive reform.

"I ended up bankrupted by cancer and by my husband's serious illness," she said. "That should not be happening in this country, and this bill doesn't stop that, that is my concern.  So, am I disappointed?  Sure, absolutely."

Despite the objections from both the left and right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains confident that Democrats will prevail in the health care battle.

"We will do what is necessary to pass a health care bill to improve quality, lower cost and make America healthier," said Nancy Pelosi.

With passions running high on both sides of the health care debate, it's likely they will only intensify in the hours leading up to final congressional action.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs